Editorial: This Rice Importation Conundrum Must Be Solved

The Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed, has, according to citinewsroom.com, expressed concern over the importation of rice by the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) for distribution to disaster victims.

According to him, the government imports over $2 billion worth of rice annually, while local rice farmers struggle to find a market for their produce.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament, the former Deputy Trade Minister described the situation as unconscionable and called for immediate action to address it. He emphasised that supporting local rice farmers is crucial for sustaining the economy and reducing the reliance on imported rice.

“I am a farmer. I still have thousands of bags of my rice at the farm in Yagba. I don’t have a market for them. Honourable Akandoh has rice there, no market for them. Honourable Adongo, including clerks of this House, have rice yet the state is spending over $2 billion on the importation of rice and poultry products into this country.

“I have had a discussion with the Minister for Agric for them to buy the rice we have produced, but as we speak, NADMO is buying imported rice for the people of this country and it doesn’t make sense. It simply doesn’t make sense,” the news outlet quoted him as saying.

First of all, we do not think the government uses $2billion of the tax payer’s money to import rice as claimed by the MP. We suspect he was referring to the general importation of rice by business men and women into the country, which has nothing to do with the government. We, nevertheless, fully associate ourselves with the comments made by the former Deputy Minister in the John Mahama’s government.

Our media landscape is replete with stories about the glut in rice production in the country and how farmers are struggling to get market for their produce. If, in the face of all these challenges, we, as a country, are still importing rice worth $2billion annually, then we have a serious problem as a country.

Since majority of the Ghanaians are engaged in farming, the government of the day has the duty to ensure that there is a ready market for what they produce at the end of the day. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut policy to frustrate the unbridled importation of rice and other agricultural products that are being locally produced.

This, in our opinion, is the source of the problem because the rice importers have the financial wherewithal to embark upon excessive marketing to create awareness for what they are selling but who is doing so for the poor local farmer?

We do not want to believe  what the former Deputy Minister is saying, but if it is true that NADMO, as a state institution,  is also  importing rice for distribution to disaster victims, it tells a story that we do not care about the growth of the local economy. The Chronicle is, therefore, appealing to the government to sit up and urgently address the concerns being expressed by the MP for the betterment of our motherland.


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